Annual Review 2023 - 10 countries, 12 weeks off, 2x growth

Uncategorized Jan 08, 2024

Welcome to my 2023 Annual Review!

Every year in my 7+ years of having a coaching business, I have completed an annual review each year for myself. 

But this is my first-ever annual review that I’m publishing and I’ve got to admit, I feel very vulnerable creating this. 

The thing is, recently I realised that I actually love reading other people’s annual reviews.  That and experiencing the beind the scenes glimpses that my own coaches do that I find really interesting and helpful.

Seeing someone else’s experience, journey, insights and learnings not only offers a lot of inspiration, but it also normalises a lot of experiences that we go through as online business owners and solopreneurs.  Experiences that we’d otherwise think were unique to us or caused by us.  And the reality is, so much of what we go through is sadly, very common, so there is a lot we can learn from others who are in the same boat or have gone before us.

So here goes - my 2023 Annual Review:

In any aspect of business, I use a 3 Question Evaluation Model, and use this same structure as I look back on any year:

  1. What Worked Well? (wins)
  2. What Didn’t Work? (fails & learnings)
  3. What To Focus On / Do Going Forwards? (looking ahead) 

 


 

What Worked Well in 2023?

 

TRAVEL

2023 was a big travel year for both me and my family.   

As I reflect back, it hits me that I traveled to 10 countries, 20+ cities/towns, and was basically “off” for more than 3 months of 2023.  This included a 6-week family bucket-list trip of driving across Canada in a campervan as a family of 5, seeing good friends along the way, and showing our 3 girls the sights of this country that had made my husband and I fall in love with it and each other 20+ years ago.

Now, whilst it does sound and was amazing (as a whole), let me also say that living in a campervan for 4 weeks with 2 teenage girls plus a younger child and driving almost 8,000kms is NOT an “easy” endeavour.  Needless to say, this trip also provided a lot of learnings for our family!

 

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

In 2023 I made a concerted effort to broaden my networks, meet new people and build new relationships.  As an introvert, this is NOT simple and takes a lot of energy.  I am someone who likes to read a room before I engage and listen before I speak. But one of the things I love about being in the online business space is that I get to meet people with varied backgrounds, experiences and values and I wanted to do more of that connection IRL.

There were a few different groups of people I met up with during the year, mostly online business owners but also spaces for female connection.  Despite the energy it took to be away from home and actively engage with others, I really enjoyed connecting with people in person and found a few of the spaces in particular really fueled my soul.  It’s been inspiring, supportive and lots of fun.

I also consciously created opportunities for quality time with old friends which also served to remind me that these moments and relationships are what life is all about.

 

 

BECOMING SWISS

2023 was the year our family naturalized as Swiss citizens!  It’s been a long journey to this point and we were so proud and relieved to have this process behind us.  As someone who has had a largely nomadic life, living in Hong Kong, CA/NYC, and London, it’s fascinating to me that I have now spent 25% of my life in this country we can finally call home.

 

IGNITE & ELEVATE

One of my goals for 2023 was to continue to grow my client base in my programs and I finished the year having doubled the revenue that this program was generating in both small group and 1:1 formats.  

I lengthened the time I work with 1:1 clients from 3 to 6 months at the start of 2023 and this has really helped my clients feel fully supported to get the results they came for - rather than them panicking at the 2-month mark that they are about to lose that support.  It means we can work on both strategy and implementation and all the roadbumps that crop up on the way.  

I am really proud of having created a container where my clients have exactly but only what they need to create the results they want, including a content pathway to refer to when needed.  The results that my clients got in 2023 in areas such as revenue growth, client numbers, personal growth, increased confidence,  performance optimisation and work/life balance were proof that Ignite is a powerful container.  Launching the affordable Elevate program at the back-end of 2023 with a specific focus on helping solopreneurs grow their business from the inside out was a good complement to the high-touch Ignite 1:1 offer.  

I am excited to continue these programs in 2024 knowing that my clients are getting better and better results as I have increased my experience with delivering the program.

 

Interested in what it could look like to have my support to help you grow your business from the inside out?  Go ahead and book a free 30-minute call with me here so I can give you all the details you need.

 

SUPPORT

I’ve always worked with coaches as I have been growing my business as I believe having access to that level of support is crucial to maintaining a good level of momentum. 

This level of support for me was invaluable in 2023, not so much because of what was going on in my business, but more for managing the interactions between my personal life and the business. 

Life always happens around us (especially as a busy mum of 3!) and having a coach to help you manage your mind and also stay focused on the right things I found played a huge part in me being able to be present for my family, travel for 3 months and more than double my revenue in the year.

I also hired my first VA to help me repurpose content so I could experiment with putting more content out there both on my blog and social media.  Having this VA support was something I had contemplated for a few years and so it felt like a huge win to decide to take the plunge and find someone I trusted to do a good job. 

Alongside this VA support, I hired an Ads strategist to help me test my messaging and use ads to grow my audience.  Again, this was another scary investment to make in my business with no guaranteed outcomes but it was great to have that expertise guide me as I started to experiment with ads.

 


 

What didn’t work so well in 2023?

 

LOW-COST OFFER

In the back-end of 2022 I was persuaded by a well-known coach to create a low-cost offer and complex funnel as a “Self-Liquidating Offer”. 

(Basically it’s a low cost offer that you run ads to as a way to grow your audience with paying customers.  The upsides are that your audience growth doesn’t cost you anything and you get higher-intent buyers in your audience as they are people who have already spent money with you.)

I’d been umming and ahhing for a few years already about trying out a self-liquidating offer and as my business was growing significantly at the back end of 2022 and I wanted to keep up that momentum, I thought it was a good time to try this out.  I had a sales call with the coach and she convinced me that this was a good direction. 

If I am honest, upfront I had my doubts (when something seems like a shortcut or too good to be true, it probably is!) but I allowed the reputation and persuasion of this well-known coach to squash my inner voice.

What I learned is that this kind of offer takes a lot of tweaking and it took a lot of my time and attention away from other things as I went through that process.  There were lots of different elements to create and the funnel was complex to manage.  I believe these offers can work, but for me, between the time I started this project and completed it, my messaging had shifted quite significantly so that my low-cost offer no longer really reflected my current messaging and therefore, wasn’t attracting the right kind of customers.

Did I sell the offer and grow my audience? Yes.

Was it the best use of my time?  No.

I ended up putting the ads on hold and pausing that project while I tested out my new messaging.  

The biggest takeaway I had from that experience was that I needed to trust myself more rather than give away my agency to external advisors.  This coach has her method and has had great success, but it wasn’t the right solution for me at this time in my business and I think I knew that beforehand but thought she must know better.

It was a lesson that cost me more than $15k - ouch.

 

MY HUSBAND RETIRING

This might seem a funny one but if I could sum up 2023, for me personally this would be the most significant circumstance that I had to manage.  Whilst I am so proud of my husband for building an incredibly successful business over 17+ years, selling it, and working out his long transition period, the impact on me of his not working was bigger than I anticipated.

Working from home I’ve always had my own space and could manage my time around all my priorities, but now there was an extra person who was around at what felt like, all the time!  The truth is, he has loads of hobbies and was out a lot but it was not his previous predictable 8am-6pm that I had been used to for so many years.  

And the impact wasn’t just on me - the kids felt it too and the year was a big transition one for all of us as we adjusted to the different family dynamics and expectations.  I had a lot of hard realizations about myself, my husband, our marriage and our family that took a lot of coaching and mind management to navigate so that I could be the wife, mother and friend I wanted to be in my life.  It was hugely tricky but as we enter 2024, I am hopeful we’ve navigated the hardest bit.

 

HEALTH

This was a mixed bag - on the one hand, I joined the gym with my eldest and made time for outdoor walks in the mountains and preventative treatments throughout the year.

But with all that I took on in the year, coupled with the events in my personal life, I also got close to burnout.  I had a full client roster and was heavily involved in family matters and it proved too much to sustain longer-term.  The interesting thing was, I was aware of it happening at the time and despite taking action to change things, I also felt powerless.  This just reinforced my belief that your business has to be sustainable longer-term to be successful.  I went back to basics, focused on the fundamentals, and trusted my business would still grow without me overcommitting – and I’m relieved to say it did.

 


 

What I’m focusing on in 2024?

For me, business-wise 2024 is a year for consolidation.

I’ve tested a lot of things out over the past 4 years and I’m now looking to simplify what I’ve created so that it is truly sustainable longer-term no matter what I’m juggling in my personal life. 

Specifically, that means continuing to refine my marketing (this never ends!) and focusing on service and client delivery (neither this!).  

I’ve reduced my rates as I switched from charging in British Pounds to US Dollars and I am acutely aware that this will require me to increase my client numbers to maintain the same revenue but I know that staying focused on my 2 main offers (and not allowing myself to get distracted) will be the way to do this.

Continuing to be a present mother, wife, and friend is hugely important to me at this stage in my life, and maintaining my 3-4 day work week is key.

 


 

Phew - I’ll admit this has been tough to write. 

I’ve resisted the urge to delete a whole bunch, trusting that what I share in some way will be helpful or at least interesting to those who choose to read it.  If that’s you and you’ve taken the time to get this far - thank you!  

Wishing you a fulfilling and successful 2024!

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